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McLaren Vale Grenache:
Old vines, new ways

Free webinar: Thursday 17 September 11:00 - 12:30 (BST)
17 Sep 2020 Webinar Free
Event finished
17 Sep 2020
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Event finished

As British MWs and winemakers, Giles Cooke and David Gleave could have decided to make wine anywhere in the world from any grape variety. So why did they both independently decide to set up wineries half a world away in McLaren Vale and focus on Grenache, a variety that had been long overlooked?

Wine writer and educator Sarah Ahmed has been closely following the renaissance of Australian Grenache since 2010, including the latest developments in McLaren Vale, judging at the pan-Australian James Halliday Grenache Challenge in McLaren Vale in 2019.

Join us the day before International Grenache Day to celebrate this grape variety and discover more about McLaren Vale. Giles and David will reveal why they’re so passionate about this corner of South Australia and the old Grenache vines it is home to, whilst Sarah Ahmed moderates and fields questions. 

Explore the history and evolution of McLaren Vale Grenache, and find out about the change in style over the past decade and the diversity between sub-regions. This is also your chance to discover the versatility of Grenache, why it is suited to the region, its climate and wide range of food.

Only 45 minutes south of Adelaide in South Australia, McLaren Vale is home to sustainable winemaking practices, world-class wines and culinary experiences, as well as pristine natural attractions and unparalleled tourism offerings.

McLaren Vale has been lauded for its ability to produce brilliance from an array of traditional varieties – from restrained yet generous Cabernet Sauvignon and rich and refined Shiraz, to an exciting range of emerging varieties like Fiano and Tempranillo. Its current star performer, however, is Grenache.

Grenache is perfectly suited to McLaren Vale’s grapegrowing conditions and showcases diverse, regional winemaking expression, from vibrant and juicy early drinking styles through to rich and structured cellar worthy wines. Whilst it may not be as well-known as Australia’s major red varieties – Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot – it’s an exciting time for Australian Grenache and demand is growing internationally.

Sarah, Giles and David will be tasting and talking about these 12 wines during the webinar:

  1. Bondar Wines Rayner Vineyard Grenache 2019
  2. Thistledown She's Electric Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache 2019
  3. Wirra Wirra The Absconder Grenache 2018
  4. Willunga 100 The Hundred Blewitt Springs Grenache 2018
  5. Thistledown Sands of Time Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache 2018
  6. Aphelion Wine Co. The Confluence Grenache 2018
  7. S. C. Pannell Old McDonald Grenache 2017
  8. Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands Grenache 2017
  9. Willunga 100 The Hundred Clarendon Grenache 2017
  10. Thistledown This Charming Man Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache 2018
  11. Ministry of Clouds Grenache 2018
  12. Bekkers Wine Grenache 2017


Giles Cooke MW

Winemaker at Thistledown Wine Co.

Giles Cooke MW is the winemaker, MD and co-owner of Thistledown Wine Co. As previous wine buyer for UK based Alliance Wine, Giles’ love for Australian wine developed to such an extent that buying turned to making, with the inaugural Thistledown vintage being the somewhat wet 2011 vintage. Since then, and aided and abetted by fellow MW, Fergal Tynan, Thistledown has developed a reputation for producing some of Australia’s most lauded contemporary Grenaches. Through a sometimes bewildering array of single sites and different expressions of the variety, Thistledown aims to unpick the rich viticultural tapestry of McLaren Vale, stitching it back together in a detailed, textural, energetic style. Known to spend more time in growers’ vineyards during vintage than they do, Giles focusses on capturing the energy of fruit on the way up rather than the way down and in developing ferment techniques that enhance rather than subdue that energy. Winner of the 2019 Halliday Grenache Challenge with 2018 Sands of Time, Giles spends much of his time, whether it’s in the UK, Australia, USA or China, talking about Grenache.

David Gleave MW

Managing Director of Liberty Wines

David Gleave is the founder and managing director of Liberty Wines. He set up the leading wine company in 1997, which now imports and distributes premium wines from 23 countries and works with over 350 producers, including over 30 of Australia’s foremost winemakers. David has worked in the UK wine trade since 1983. Born and educated in Canada, he has lived in the UK since 1978, and in 1986 he passed his Master of Wine examination. Throughout his career, he has spent at least 5-6 months of every year travelling the world, including at least one trip to Australia, giving him an unrivalled knowledge of the country’s wines. David is also a shareholder in Willunga 100, a Grenache specialist from McLaren Vale founded in 2005. 

Sarah Ahmed

Wine Writer and Educator

Sarah Ahmed is a UK-based wine writer, blogger, educator and judge, specialising in the wines of Australia and Portugal. As well as publishing her own blog, The Wine Detective, she also writes for numerous publications and has contributed to many leading wine reference books. Sarah started her wine career with wine merchant Oddbins in 2000, managing their flagship Fine Wine Store in London between 2003 and 2005, before striking out on her own with writing and in education. Sarah was awarded ‘Honorary Australian Woman in Wine’ at the Australian Women in Wine Awards 2017.


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